World's Top 50 and Nothing For China

The yearly World's Best 50 Restaurants list has been released and no love for any restaurants in China, not that this is an overwhelming surprise. Pierre Gargnaire's self-named restaurant takes number 3, whereas his Hong Kong outpost comes in at 88 (the highest rated restaurant in Asia is Bukhara in India, at 55). All 4 L'Atelier Joel Rubochon's make the list, while the Hong Kong version Rubochon a Galera clocks in at 98, one ahead Zuma, another Hong Kong restaurant, at 99. Last year, lots of love was shown to Indian and Singaporean restaurants, but most of them are off the list this year and the above represents all the Asian dining spots on the list.

China's dining scene is still not quite ready for primetime, but the number of high end restaurants and outposts of foreign favorites is growing. Jean Georges gets on for his New York restaurant, will the Shanghai version be far behind? What about the amazing creations from the likes of Frederic Meynard (Le Pre Lenotre) and Paul Pairet (Jade on 36)? Will they get some international recognition in the years to come, especially after the Olympics, when the world visits Beijing? Restaurants like SALT, The Courtyard, and Jaan are putting out some great food, but their prices are still, compared to Tokyo, London, Paris, and New York, reasonable and perhaps this accessibility is what keeps them from these lists. Bloggers love lists and so I always go for this stuff, but is it unrealistic to think that a spot in China could compete in a few years (or even today)?

It will be interesting to see what Conde Nast Traveler's Hot List includes in its 2008 edition, as it regularly has a number of Chinese spots and is currently on newsstands. The website currently only has hotels and not the "hot" tables or clubs, China is well represented with Hotel Cote Cour SL in Beijing at 18, Shanghai's Jia (29) and Mansion Hotel (41), and the Kayumanis Nanjing (31).

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